The Futuristic Headband That Reads Your Mind and Makes You Better at Meditating
A fast-paced Philly Mag reporter checks in to see if this novel device can slow down his always-racing mind.
When somebody told me there was this meditation headband called Muse 2 that supposedly helps you quiet your mind and meditate, suffice to say I was highly skeptical. This was partly because I’m just a highly skeptical person. But it was also because, I mean, c’mon. An electronic meditation headband? Seriously?
But I’m also a pretty anxious person. I don’t know what to do with myself when it’s quiet. Oddly, quiet stresses me out. And it’s something I’ve been trying to address.
So I decided to give the Muse 2 meditation headband a whirl.
The Muse 2 headband, which costs $249 on Amazon, is wireless. You charge it with a USB cable, and it communicates with your phone or tablet using Bluetooth.
Because the various sensors on the Muse 2 need to make contact with your skin, it is adjustable. I have a big head but had no problem getting the Muse 2 to fit me. It also fit my 13-year-old son.
After I downloaded the free Muse 2 app to my iPad, setup took just a few minutes. And then I was ready to begin using Muse 2 to help me mediate.
So, how exactly is it supposed to do that?
Well, the Muse 2 headband is basically an electroencephalogram (EEG) device that measures brain activity. It also records your heart rate, breathing and, thanks to an accelerometer, how still you are. All of this information is sent to the Muse 2 app on your phone or tablet.
The app has a series of guided audio meditations that start out at two minutes long. The Muse 2 meditations are divided into four categories: heart, body, breath, and mind. You choose the guided meditation based on what you want to focus on, and you listen to it through headphones plugged into your phone or tablet.
The real magic comes from the automatic feedback that the app provides through those same headphones.
In one guided Muse 2 meditation I tried that featured the sounds of rainfall in the background, I was “rewarded” with pleasant bird chirps as I relaxed more. But when I got distracted or my mind got busy, thunder began rumbling softly, and the soothing female voice I chose as my guide told me, “Control the weather with your mind.” I calmed myself, and the birds returned.
After my meditation was over, the Muse 2 app showed me how I did. And the app keeps track of your meditations and “performance” over time, so you can see your progress for the last week, month, and year.
If this all sounds like Meditation for Dummies to you, it really is. But that’s the point. A lot of people don’t know how to meditate. I sure didn’t. Muse 2 makes the techniques easy for anyone to learn by turning them into a game — control the weather! keep those storms away! The longer you play, the better you get. I haven’t stopped yet.
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